Fylde coast ice rink site is back in play as fun centre

Knuckleheads Family Entertainment Centre is opening in the former Ice Arena in Cleveleys.  Pictured is managing director Wendy Bickerstaffe with staff Lily Hambly and Emily Fryer.
Knuckleheads Family Entertainment Centre is opening in the former Ice Arena in Cleveleys. Pictured is managing director Wendy Bickerstaffe with staff Lily Hambly and Emily Fryer.
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Skating has been put on ice permanently but the fun will go on at the former rink in Cleveleys.

The Jubilee Leisure Park site is all set to reopen next weekend as a family fun centre thanks to the people behind Children’s Corner.

Workmen have been in at Knuckleheads, as it will be called, for 10 weeks refurbishing the building and installing play area equipment.

The ice rink was stripped out by the previous owners but the cold and damp had left the building needing serious attention.

Managing director Wendy Bickerstaffe said the team had been looking at the site for some time and when it became available decided to give it a go.

She said: “We are very excited about Knuckleheads, it is going to be an all year round attraction with play area downstairs and a gourmet grill restaurant and coffee bar upstairs.

“We took over Children’s Corner after the owner Albert Mason had to retire due to ill health.

“Last year was our first year running that, but we had our eye on this place for quite a while and when it became vacant we came up with this idea.

“We all have other businesses so this had been quite a busy time but we are all looking forward to opening.

“We have already had more than 50 messages and have been hounded by people looking for somewhere to hold their children’s parties so demand is there.”

The building has had a chequered past. Originally built with the cinema as a bowling alley, it eventually opened in 2011 as an ice rink – Sub Zero.

But financial problems followed and after one re-opening the owners had to give up.

It was taken over by new owners and ran as Jubilee Ice Arena until 2014 before that too came to an end. A community interest company was formed to try to keep it open but that to finished in October 2015.

Wendy said: “The building was not really big enough for an ice rink, the arena was not full size so it was hard to sustain.

“We have spent around £250,000 on Knuckleheads.

“The rink has been taken out by the owners but having been left unused for so long the place was damp and there was rust on some of the beams and mould. It has taken a lot of hard work to get it into top condition.”

She said on the ground floor would be various attractions including bouncy castles, rides including a chair-o-plane, air hockey and pool tables, a toddler soft play zone and cafe bar, plus redemption arcade machines which use tokens and give out tickets to redeem prizes.

Wendy added: “We are starting with the ground floor at first but our gourmet grill will be open upstairs.”